Perspicacious inquisition by the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering does not bode well for Pakistan. EFSAS Commentary
25 May 2019
In its recently published commentary, “Perspicacious inquisition by the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering does not bode well for Pakistan”, the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) comments on the fretful attempts of Pakistan to defend its dismal record against money laundering and financing of terrorism during a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering at Guangzhou, China.
The APG is a regional Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – style inter-governmental body mandated with ensuring adherence by the 41 APG members to international standards of action against money laundering, as well as against financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Pakistan’s sinister record in each of these three spheres had been responsible for its placement on the FATF’s grey list in June last year, but perhaps its blatant sponsorship of terrorism was what contributed most substantially to its listing. The FATF will soon decide on whether a significant punitive downgrade to the black list was warranted for Pakistan on account of its inertness in rectifying the grave shortcomings underlined by FATF.
While blacklisting by FATF would deal a body blow to Pakistan’s faltering economy, whose already precarious state has taken yet another turn for the worse after the announcement of the IMF’s bailout package that resulted in a precipitously weakening of its currency and spiralling inflation, even a decision to retain it on the grey list will have an adverse economic impact.
In its commentary, EFSAS argues that the reality is that Pakistan has brought this situation upon itself. The overwhelming powers wrested by the country’s military establishment and the incessant machinations that it indulges in have meant that no elected Prime Minister has had the gumption to undertake an earnest anti-terror drive in the country. It appears that it will be no different this time around.
Yet, as illustrated by EFSAS, unless Pakistan acts sincerely and demonstrably against all the terrorist outfits on its territory, including those that its military establishment has set up over the years and used as strategic assets, international pressure on the country using all possible leverages ought to be forceful and unrelenting.